At least two figures in the professional StarCraft 2 scene in Korea have been banned from KeSPA (the Korean eSports Association) following charges of matchfixing.
Reportedly, as many as 11 people have been indicted on charges of matchfixing in StarCraft 2. So far only two names have been released: a player named YoDa and a coach named Gerrard, both of whom have been given lifetime bans by KeSPA. Notably, these two are members of the same StarCraft 2 team, Prime.
"Since 2010, the association has worked alongside the rest of the industry to fight against the illegal betting that has continued to threaten the foundation of eSports," reads a fan translation of the statement from KeSPA director Cho Man Soo. "It is extremely regrettable that a related incident has occurred again, and we apologize to all of the fans who have shown eSports their love and support."
KeSPA was apparently informed of Gerrard and YoDa's illegal betting from "an anonymous source seeking a reward." Shortly after that, the organization discovered that the two had been arrested in an official investigation related to this incident.
This is not the first time that a matchfixing scandal has rocked the StarCraft world. In 2010, several Korean players and programmers were accused of matchfixing by a North American player. These allegations were eventually confirmed, and 11 players were banned from KeSPA and received fines and other penalties.
Last year, a top Korean League of Legends player and his manager were accused of matchfixing by KeSPA. That scandal took a tragic turn when the accused player attempted suicide after confessing to taking part in the matchfixing.
The accusation of matchfixing for an eSport may seem hard to believe, but it makes more sense in Korea, where eSports is incredibly popular and potentially lucrative. The idea is that certain teams, coaches and players can throw the game while simultaneously betting on the outcome they know will happen and winning lots of money that way. Betting on eSports has become fairly commonplace in South Korea.
More information on the latest eSports matchfixing scandal is expected to be released by prosecutors in the coming days and hours. In the mean time, Cho Man Soo ends his letter with another apology:
"Once again, we apologize to all of the fans of Korean eSports and everyone who works tirelessly for the advancement of eSports."